Hi all! I don't want to start a controversy here, I just want to share my own experience. I'm not giving anyone advice on what to do and I don't know if my story will be the same in a year or 10 years. But here goes.
I have had type 2 diabetes since 2005. Probably earlier, but they called what I had "pre-diabetes" or "insulin resistance" back then. I have been about 100 pounds overweight for many years now. Yes, I did all the diets, eating healthy, exercise. But I couldn't KEEP much weight off long-term. I was pretty normal in that way.
Through all of this, my diabetes has been extremely manageable. My highest a1c was around 7 and most of the time it was at or below 6. Sometimes I took metformin, but I had IBS and the metformin made it worse. The difference to my a1c with or without metformin was quite frankly not much. I realize I am a LUCKY diabetic since I have not seen much degeneration of pancreatic function since diagnosis.
Well, in the last year I have seen some scary (for me) blood sugars. Fewer 5s, more 7s,and quite a few 8s and 9s. (Sorry, I am in Australia and only use mmol/l). While these are certainly not put-you-in-hospital numbers, they were scary to me, because they signaled that my diabetes honeymoon was coming to an end.
On the advice of my doctor, I began considering weight loss surgery. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have tried every non-fad diet out there. I generally lost weight but could not sustain the weight loss. I even did a medically supervised liquid diet (Optifast 800) for 14 months, from September 2011 to December 2012. This program included comprehensive dietetic advice with weekly one-on-one meetings, as well as several therapy sessions. On Optifast, I lost 40 pounds. By January 2013 I had gained 20 back, while doing the right things at least 80% of the time.
The failures with weight loss and the worsening blood glucose levels made me open to the idea of weight loss surgery. I decided on the sleeve gastrectomy because it is permanent, does not reroute the intestines or rely on malabsorption, and doesn't leave any foreign materials in the body. After extensive research and soul-searching, I had the surgery on May 14, 2013. Thus, I am a week and a half out from surgery.
During and immediately after the surgery, my blood glucose hovered around 7, elevated by the IV fluids and stress on my body. By the second day, I was seeing mid-5s. By the third day, my numbers were holding steady at 4.9. The whole first week, two hours post-prandial and morning fasting, I saw 4.9. This morning, my fasting number was 4.7. That number is what encouraged me to share this post with you today.
Now, I am still on full fluids. I am drinking 3 meal-replacement high-protein shakes per day. These are also relatively high in carbs. They would normally be quite a challenge to my system. I am also drinking fruit juice and dairy which wouldn't help either. My doctor has instructed me not to take metformin for the first three months so we can see what happens. It might be that when I go onto "real food" next week, my numbers bounce back up into the 5s or higher.
But I don't think so. There are countless studies showing improvement in blood glucose following weight loss surgery, specifically the sleeve gastrectomy and the gastric bypass. These improvements show up even before weight loss, and the mechanisms for them are not fully understood. I Salian resistance seems to be improved very quickly by these surgeries.
I'm not saying weight loss surgery is necessarily a cure for diabetes or puts it I to remission. It may be that I have only bought myself a few weeks, months, or years. I will commit to provide updates of my progress over time. For now, I could not be more pleased.
Update: please read the comments to see my follow-ups so far. I am now four months post-op and so far the story keeps getting better and better.
Update: I have passed the 6-month mark, my numbers are still non-diabetic, and I have lost 30 kg. more details in my latest comment.
Update: Just past 8 months and my doctor ordered a full battery of tests, including a Glucose Tolerance Test. He considers me to no longer have Type 2 diabetes, based on the results of the GTT, and all of my numbers (cholesterol, vitamins, minerals, hormones) are currently perfect. See more details in the comments. I am so grateful for this surgery! Even if I am not "cured" forever, any time I can give my body with normoglycemic blood will be a huge benefit.Update: I passed the one-year mark two weeks ago on May 14 and I'm still doing great. Maintaining my weight-loss and diabetes is still in remission. See the comments for more details.